Democrats weigh how to shrink their social spending plan and still make big change

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

As Democrats look to cut their spending bill, here’s a reminder of where they started

She made the remarks to reporters following a Monday letter to her caucus on the «difficult decisions» ahead and that she’s hearing members say they’d like to do «fewer things well.»

Pelosi acknowledged it’s possible that certain programs will ultimately have to be cut from the plan, but first, she’s hoping to shorten the timeframe of all the bill’s major provisions in the hopes of meeting a lower figure closer to $2 trillion.

«We’re still talking about a couple trillion dollars,» Pelosi told reporters. «But it’s much less, so mostly we would be cutting back on years and something like that.»

Pelosi said key pillars for Democrats could remain, such as universal pre-kindergarten, the child tax credit, Medicare expansions, paid family medical leave and opportunities for tuition-free community college.

The key, she said, is reaching agreement on a plan that will be approved in both the House and the Senate.

The challenge on how to move forward on the package comes as House Democrats returned on Tuesday for a rare vote during a planned recess to approve short-term legislation to raise the debt ceiling until Dec. 3. The evenly divided Senate passed the measure last week after Republicans offered a reprieve from a partisan standoff on the debt ceiling, which was expected to be reached next Monday, Oct. 18.

Congress is seeking (its own) permission to borrow another trillion or two

«In the meantime, we’ll be working to try to have bipartisanship as we have always have had,» she said of future hopes of working out a more permanent deal of addressing the debt limit.

Pelosi, who took part in international conferences this past weekend, noted that negotiations continue on the social spending package, where agreement is still needed in order to move that bill forward in tandem with a $1.5 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill still awaiting a vote in the House.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

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